Hope in Discipleship

Worship Service for August 9, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and hopefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

“Randy, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints at CrossPointe, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus; grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:1-2).

Other than my substituting Randy for Paul and CrossPointe for Ephesus, that is how Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians.

What, me an apostle? Not any more than any of you. The word ‘apostle’ simply means ‘one who is sent,’ anyone who is sent to others with a message. That’s all Christians. Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, so send I you” (John 20:17). Apostles all!

What, you a bunch of saints? Not any more than me. The word ‘saint’ literally means ‘one set apart for a special purpose.’ That’s all Christians. All Christians are set apart for the special purpose of glorifying God by serving others.

Who’da thunk it? Apostles and saints. But that’s what we are!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

This last Tuesday, we finally finished up the Disciple I Bible Study class that began last September. Normally we finish by the middle of May but COVID put the kibosh to that. But I want to congratulate Jerry and Sandy Barnes, Robin Estepp, Deborah Haumesser, Lyn Methle, Phil Straus and Donna Warholic for seeing it through to the end.

I already have 5 persons who will start the new class this September. If you are interested or know someone who is, let me know about it.

Since we changed our worship time to 9:30 am, I will remain after worship until 12 noon for those of you who wish to drop off your offering. You may place it in the box that is located in the lobby.

If you prefer to send your offering in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format on the same page where you accessed this.

CALL TO WORSHIP

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 John 5:11-13

HYMNS OF PRAISE

Blessed Assurance

Crosby, Fanny J./Knapp, Phoebe P.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood!

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight!
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest.
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Blessed Be the Rock

Gardner, Daniel

Blessed be the Rock of my salvation;
Blessed be the Rock of my salvation;
For the Lord is on my side,
And He’s made His victory mine.
Blessed be the Rock of my salvation;
Blessed be the Rock! Blessed be the Rock!
Blessed be the Rock! Blessed be the Rock!
Blessed be the Rock of my salvation.

©1985 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Our heavenly Father, as we come before You on this Lord’s Day, we praise Your Holy Name for the gift of blessed assurance; granted unto us through our faith in the Risen Lord. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, continue to fill our hearts with joy as we worship and bow down before You and Your Son, Jesus, our Lord. Receive us this day in His precious name; amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

PRAYER SONG

In Moments Like These

Graham, David

In moments like these
I sing out a song,
I sing out a love song to Jesus.
In moments like these
I lift up my heart,
I lift up my heart to the Lord
Singing I love You, Lord
Singing I love You, Lord
Singing I love You, Lord
I love You

©1980 C.A. Music (a div. of Christian Artists Corp
[Admin by Music Services])
CCLI License No. 1843349
MORNING PRAYER

In moments like these, we sing out a love song to Jesus because You “showed how much You loved us by sending Your one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved You, but that You loved us and sent Your Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (I John 4:9-10). In light of Your love, help us to love You “with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength” (Matthew 22:37). And help us to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves” (Matthew 22:39).

With that in mind, we sing out this prayer to You on behalf of others. Hear us Lord as we pray for our country (please pray); as we pray for our governmental leaders (please pray); as we pray for those who have lost loved ones (please pray); as we pray for those who are ill (please pray); as we pray for those who are suffering from alienation and loneliness brought on by this pandemic (please pray); as we pray for our families (please pray); and lastly as we pray for our needs (please pray).

And now Lord, we ask that You would dispatch that promised ‘peace;’ that peace that passes all understanding and may it continue to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

From then on Jesus began to tell His disciples plainly that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, and that He would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day He would be raised from the dead.

But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand Him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with His angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.

Matthew 16:21-27

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world. If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?

I Peter 4:7-17

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Hope in Discipleship

When a hog and a hen sharing the same barnyard heard about a church’s program to feed the hungry they began to discuss how they could help.
The hen said, “I’ve got it; we’ll provide bacon and eggs.”
The hog began to mull that idea over and after a minute the light bulb went on; “Hey wait a minute, for you that it only requires a contribution, but from me, that means total commitment!” 1

What’s that got to do with today’s message? Everything! For today we are talking the call to discipleship. And for the hog to give it all IS the true cost of Christian discipleship.

Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

Hey wait a minute preacher, that sounds contradictory to what you talked about last Sunday! Last week, you assured us, in fact you even called it the Doctrine of Assurance; that states we are going to be saved not because of anything that we have or haven’t done, but because of what Jesus has done for us and who He is.

But that’s not what Jesus just said. He said, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” Sounds to me like He is saying we will be saved based upon what we do!

So which is it? Are we saved by faith in the power of the cross or are we saved by giving up our life to serve Jesus?

How do we reconcile those two seemingly contradictory truths?

And the answer is, we don’t; we allow those two truths to stand right next to each other and find a way to balance them against one another.

Please note the first truth that champions salvation by grace through faith in Christ has tended to overshadow the second; that Christians will be judged by God according to their deeds.

That’s not too difficult to understand, is it? I mean, who would choose judgement over grace? The thought of being judged by God for our deeds sends shivers down most of our spines.

But wait a minute, it’s not just our tendency to avoid judgment that inclines us to lean toward grace.

Pastor, author, Professor of Philosophy at USC, Dallas Willard, points out that the evangelical church over the last 50 years has been unbalanced; over-emphasizing the preaching of salvation by grace to the detriment of closely following Jesus as one of His disciples. He says, “We have talked more about believing in Jesus than following Jesus.”

And he has led the charge to right the ship by calling for balance between these two truths because, he says, “A gospel of mere forgiveness does not produce disciples.” 2

My guess is if I went back and categorized my sermons, I would discover that I have been guilty of talking more about believing in Jesus than following Jesus.

Peter didn’t do that. I mentioned last week that he lifts up the doctrine of salvation by grace seven times. But he also talks about the necessity of following Jesus throughout this letter. In fact, including today’s section, he talks about that seven times also. Talk about balance.

We need to live that balance in our lives. In other words, we must accept the Biblical truth that believing in Jesus involves making the decision to live as a disciple of Jesus.

What does it mean to be a disciple?

Dr. Willard says, “As Jesus’ disciple, I am learning from Him how to lead my life in the kingdom of God as He would lead my life if He were I. … As a disciple, I am being transformed in all dimensions of my personality toward the goal of loving God with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind and all my strength and my neighbor as myself.” 3

But how often do we identify our Christian faith in those terms?

Ask the average Christian, “What makes you a Christian?”
And they will readily answer, “Because, I believe in Christ.”

That’s a good start! But what Jesus and Peter are advocating is more akin to, “Because I believe in Christ, I love God with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind and all my strength and my neighbor as myself.”

Presuming upon the grace of God is a dangerous road to travel.

Philip Yancey writes, “We find it difficult to maintain a commitment to discipleship in this life when we assume we will be guaranteed safe passage to the next.

He uses the analogy of a busload of tourists en route to the Grand Canyon. On the long journey across the wheat fields of Kansas and through the glorious mountains of Colorado, the travelers inexplicably keep the shades down. Focused solely on the ultimate destination, they never even bother to look outside. Too many would-be Christians are riding that bus.”

Then Yancey concludes, “We must remember that the Bible has far more to say about how to live during the journey than about the ultimate destination. Christians must be as committed to this life as to the afterlife.” 4

But there’s an idea abroad among some people that you can be a Christian without it affecting your lifestyle. That you don’t have to let your theology impact your ethics.

Jesus and Peter want us to know that nothing could be further from the truth!

Again I say, presuming upon the grace of God is a dangerous road to travel.

Jesus died for us yes, but He also calls us to take up our cross and follow.

He also warned against taking the easy road: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

A world-class woman runner was invited to compete in a road race in Connecticut. On the morning of the race, she drove from New York City. She got lost, stopped at a gas station, and asked for help. She knew that the race started in the parking lot of a shopping mall. The station attendant also knew of such a race scheduled just up the road and directed her there.

When she arrived, she was relieved to see in the parking lot a modest number of runners preparing to compete and thought, this is going to be easier than I expected. She hurried to the registration desk, announced herself, and was surprised by the race officials’ excitement at having so renowned an athlete show up for their race.

She ran and, naturally, she won easily, some four minutes ahead of the first male runner in second place. Only after the race, when there was no envelope containing a sizable prize did she discover that the race she’d just run was not the race to which she’d been invited. That race was being held several miles farther up the road in another town.

She’d gone to the wrong starting line, run the wrong race, and missed her chance to win a valuable prize. 5

My friends, we must not let that happen to us by taking the easy road!

Oh sure, I believe in Jesus, He died for me and I am heaven-bound. And because I am I don’t need to be concerned with how I live here on earth.

Wrong race! No prize!!

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne

Hebrews 12:1-3

Recently retired pastor, Lee Eclov writes, “When I was a kid in the mid-50s, Parker Brothers came out with a game for Christians called Going to Jerusalem. [There were several on eBay this week going for between $45 and $50.] Your playing piece wasn’t a top hat or Scottie dog, like in the game of Monopoly. In Going to Jerusalem, you got to be a real disciple; a little plastic man with a robe, a beard, some sandals, and a staff. In order to move across the board, you looked up answers to questions in the little black New Testament provided with the game. You started in Bethlehem, and made stops at the Mount of Olives, Bethsaida, Capernaum, the stormy sea, Nazareth, and Bethany. If you did well, you went all the way to a triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the ultimate goal in this game, of the heavenly city.

But there was no Crucifixion to land on. You only made your way through the nice stories. It was a safe adventure, perfectly suited for a Christian family on a Sunday afternoon walk with Jesus.

It never occurred to me, while leaning over the card table jiggling the dice, that following Jesus wasn’t meant for plastic disciples. If you’re going to walk with Jesus as His disciple in this world, you may need to change your expectations. After all, Jesus said, “Take up your cross, and follow me.” 6

Are we saved by faith in the power of the cross or are we saved by what we do? And the answer is both. Confessing Jesus as Savior implies also confessing Him as Lord.

The long-time, much-beloved pastor of Hollywood Presbyterian Church,
John Ogilvie, wrote, “There’s nothing more exciting than helping another person become a Christian; except helping that person into an exhilarating experience of discipleship.” 7

Because that is true, I close with a story by Pastor John Ortberg who compares submission to Jesus to driving a car. When it was time to take our first child home from the hospital, he put her in the car seat in the back of the car, and then I got in the front seat to drive. She was so small even the baby seat was way too big. She looked so fragile to me that I drove home on the freeway going 35 miles per hour with the hazard lights flashing the whole time. That first day, when your kid is in the car with you, is a scary day.

Does anybody want to know what the next really scary day is with your kid in the car? It’s when they turn 16, and now you’re handing over the keys. Now they’re moving from the passenger seat, from the ride-along seat, into the driver’s seat. That’s a scary moment.

It is a big moment in your life when you hand someone else the keys. Up until that moment, you are in the driver’s seat, you are in control. You choose the destination, you choose the route, you choose the speed. To hand the keys to someone else so they can sit in the driver’s seat requires total trust in that person because now they are in control. It’s all about control.

A lot of people find Jesus handy to have in the car as long as he’s in the passenger seat, because something may come up where we require his services. Jesus, I have a health problem, and I need some help. I want you in the car, but I’m not so sure I want you driving. Because if Jesus is driving, I’m not in charge of my life anymore.

If he’s driving, I’m not in charge of my wallet anymore. If I put him in control then it’s no longer a matter of giving some money now and then when I’m feeling generous or when more of it is coming into my life. Now, it’s his wallet. It’s scary.

If Jesus is driving, I’m not in charge of my ego anymore. I no longer have the right to satisfy every self-centered ambition. No, it’s his agenda; it’s his life.

If Jesus is driving, I’m not in charge of my mouth anymore. I don’t get to gossip, flatter, deceive, rage, intimidate, manipulate, exaggerate.

But when I get out of the driver’s seat and hand the keys over to him, I’m more alive than I’ve ever been before, but it’s not my life anymore. It’s his life. 8

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage all of you to pray as you feel led). 

CLOSING SONG

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Singh, Sundar

I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me.
The world behind me, the cross before me.
The world behind me, the cross before me.
No turning back, no turning back.

Tho none go with me, I still will follow.
Tho none go with me, I still will follow.
Tho none go with me, I still will follow.
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude 24-25

1 https://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/are-you-contributing-or-committing

2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBh8Kz9uqG8

3 Ibid.

4 Philip Yancey, On the Grand Canyon Bus, Christianity Today
(September 2008), page. 102.

5 D. Bruce Lockerbie, Thinking and Acting Like A Christian, [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Press, © 1989]. p. 52

6 Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2008/february/2022508.html

7 Lloyd John Ogilvie in Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 3.
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1997/june/712.html

8 John Ortberg, True Freedom, sermon on PreachingToday.com

Randy K'Meyer

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